General Zaroff lives on an island known to sailors as Ship Trap Island. Sailors believe there is something mysterious about the island that captures the ships and crews and so the mood on the boat as they begin to sail passed it becomes very subdued and ominous. Like so many ships that sailed before them Rainsford's ship and crew fall victim to the "trap". It is not until Rainsford is inside General Zaroff's palatial estate that he learns the mystery behind the trap. General Zaroff shows Rainsford from a window that it is actually he who traps the ships. He then uses the sailors who wash up on shore as his "stock" for his most dangerous game.
"This island is called Ship-Trap," he answered. "Sometimes, an angry god of the high seas sends them to me. Sometimes, when Providence is not so kind, I help Providence a bit. Come to the window with me. . ." Rainsford saw a flash of light. The general chuckled. "They indicate a channel where there's none, giant rocks with razor edges crouch like a sea monster with wide open jaws. . ."